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Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 1 February 2015

DP Ruto divide and rule tactics in Kipsigis politics

The  recently  announced  merger  of  TNA  and  URP   into  one  political party called Jubilee Alliance Party is likely to do harm than good to William Ruto’s URP. Uhuru Kenyatta’s TNA is also likely to suffer in the area. 
Already  dissenting  views  are  emerging  from  the  bitter URP  members  in  the  South  Rift  region  of  Bomet  and  Kericho who claim that the merger decision was made in haste  before consultive and extensive consultations.
 The  merger  came  at  a time  when  URP  support  in the two counties in the South  Rift  is waning and is at the  lowest ebb. Politicians  in the populous Kipsigis  subtribe  have a bone to pick with  Ruto following allegations that he  is involved clandestinely in the  controversial issue concerning the   proposed  establishment of  the Bomet  University.
The  Bomet  University controversy  has rekindled the rivalry between him and Bomet  governor Isaac Ruto. Governor Ruto   and his supporters wanted  the  proposed  Bomet University  to  be established on  a 65-acre piece of land at Sigor trading centre 30 kilometres outside Bomet town. On the other side, four MPs  representing  various constituencies in the county and MCAs supporting the deputy  president want the institution of higher learning to be constructed in Bomet  town.
The MPs and MCAs who are perceived to be acting on the behest of deputy president recently staged a demonstration in Bomet town. The protestors alleged  that Governor  Ruto  was  fighting for  for Sigor  site  because  it is  near  his  rural  home.
The  relationship  between  the  DP  and members of  the  Kipsigis   community  has yet  to  return  to normal  ever  since  an abortive attempt was made  by  the  Kericho  assembly  MCA  to  impeach Kericho governor  Paul  Chepkwony and his Bomet counterpart. The contentious issue  was only resolved after the intervention of the Senate.
 Kericho senator Charles Keter  is a close political associate of the DP and his pointman in the region.
URP  has become unpopular with residents, especially URP in Kericho  and Bomet as the result of the party key players alleged role in organising politicians from the two counties who frequent the Sugoi home of the DP in Eldoret. There are allegations that during such visits, issues related to South Rift politics are always  discussed  at length, something  which  has  created rift and  disunity among  the  elected leaders in the two counties and  the  DP. Those who visit the Sugoi home are  allegedly well oiled  with  money to fight their opponents. Upon their return from such trips, they  engage in  dirty campaigns. It is said the DP has perfected the art of divide and rule in Kipsigis poliltics to have leaders not speak with one voice. His fear is, if they unite, he will not have control over them.
The  stand  taken  by  Kanu  national  chairman  Senator  Gideon  Moi  of  Baringo  in  opposing  the   impeachment  of  Governor  Chepkwony  has made his name  popular among  the  Kipsigis.
One  politician  who the  Kipsigis  people are  banking  their  hope is the  Kuresoi South MP Zakayo Cheruiyot  who  the  community  believes together with the two governors can liberate them politically. Cheruiyot is  currently  quiet, but   the   former  Internal  Security  PS  in the Moi regime  is known to be  a schemer  who  calculates  his  moves  well. He was instrumental in having the DP form URP that has propelled him to power in Jubilee.
Apart from the two governors and Cheruiyot, former cabinet minister Franklin Bett has the political say over this most populous community of the Kalenjin community.